• Spanish Grand Prix

Hamilton surprised with McLaren

ESPNF1 Staff
May 22, 2011 « 'I felt my tyres going away' - Vettel | »
Lewis Hamilton pushed Sebastian Vettel all the way to the line in Spain © Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton said that McLaren was quicker than Red Bull after he finished second in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Having qualified third, a whole second behind Mark Webber on pole, Hamilton was expecting a race for third as the two Red Bull cars would dispute the victory. Fernando Alonso lead in to turn one, however, and although Sebastian Vettel lead from midway to win the race, he only did so by 0.6s from Hamilton, who said he could have won the race given a few extra laps.

"We pushed as hard as we could," Hamilton told the BBC. "I'm really really happy with the result still, of course I would have loved to have won. A few more laps I think you may have seen a different result, but I just ran out of time at the end. It was very difficult to balance how many laps you had left and how much life you had left in the tyres. And just pushing behind him [Vettel], he was in clean air and I was in dirty air, and the car's sliding so much, so it was incredibly tough going.

"Nonetheless we did a great job and I'm happy to see Jenson came quite far up because I think he was on the outside of me in to turn one and we all went quiet deep and ended up having him on the kerb or something like that so that wasn't great for him but I'm glad he was able to come back up. Good results for the team, I really wasn't expecting to be so quick today but we were quicker than the Red Bulls pretty much except for their high speed pace."

Hamilton admitted that he was at a loss to explain the difference in performance Red Bull has between qualifying and the race.

"I even have no idea what it's all about. When I'm behind him he's definitely got quite a lot more downforce, particularly in the high speed, the car just doesn't move. But then I'm able to attack and be a little bit more aggressive elsewhere on the circuit, particularly the last sector I was quite close to him. But then through the last corner, turn three and turn nine - the high speed corners - he was gone. So that's an area we need to try and improve, but otherwise I kept closing that gap, closing it closing it closing it but just couldn't get close enough."

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